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The National Bureau of Statistics released disaggregated state-level unemployment data two weeks ago for the period covering the third quarter of 2017 to the third quarter in 2018. We had already seen the nationwide numbers before, and we knew that for the economy as a whole the unemployment rate increased from 20.4 to 23.1 percent. Still it was interesting to see how unemployment varied across the country. To say there were some very bad performers would be putting it lightly.
Ten states saw a ten percentage point increase in unemployment and all of them were in the North. Gombe state was the worst of the bunch with unemployment increasing from just over 10 percent to 27 percent in one year. Bauchi and Adamawa were not far behind while Kano which now has an unemployment rate of 31 percent currently ranks as the state with the fifth highest rate of unemployment and the fifth largest increase over the period. A very worrying statistic given that Kano is supposed to be one of the states with the largest population in Nigeria.
Part of the unemployment story in the north relates to the dominance of agriculture which is the major employer of labour. Employment in agriculture depends on the seasons of course. People might switch between unemployed and underemployed depending on the farming season. It is therefore useful to look at the trend in both the unemployed and underemployed, that captures people who were completely unemployed but also people who were fully employed and became underemployed.
The numbers paint the same picture. The states with the largest increases in unemployment are also the states with the largest drop in underemployment. In essence a lot of people who were managing to eke out an existence have … Read More...